10 Reasons Why You Should Build an AR-15

10 Reasons Why You Should Build an AR-15

Kat Ainsworth Stevens

Kat Ainsworth Stevens

The AR-15 platform can be customized to endless variations, and if you’ve ever had the opportunity to build an AR-15, you know that the process can be fairly addictive.  If you’ve never built one, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about, and we’re here to tell you. Of course, if you’ve built one or more and want an excuse to keep going, this article is for you, too.

Here are ten reasons why you should build an AR-15.

1. Doing your own AR-15 build expands on a platform that’s already highly useful.

AR-15 rifles
There are a lot of AR-15 options out there. (Photo credit: The New York Times)

The versatility of the AR-15 platform is undeniable. They can be used for everything from home defense to hunting to truck guns, and more. Then there are the different barrel lengths, calibers, and colors. There are ARs with and without suppressors; with and without red dots and magnifiers; the list goes on forever. The possibilities to build an AR-15 that meets your unique needs are seemingly endless.

2. You’ll get to know your AR-15 better. 

AR-15 Parts
There are a lot of AR-15 parts out there. Do you know the names for each and every one? (Photo credit: SARCO)

This one’s undeniably true. Building AR-15 rifles, carbines, and pistols improves your understanding of how the guns work. You also get a better idea of what does and does not work. This, in turn, makes it a lot easier to troubleshoot when there’s a problem. And, after you build an AR-15 you’re going to be far more capable of building a better-performing gun that precisely suits it’s specific purpose.

3. Building a retro AR-15 is like a history lesson in the making.

AR-15 retro builds are a great way to learn about gun history. (Phot credit: Wired.com)

Maybe you don’t love the look or feel of a retro AR-15 but building one can teach you things about gun history. We’ve come a long way with technological advances since the platform appeared during the Vietnam era, so retro builds are more reliable than the guns they’re depicting. If you’re so inclined, it can be fascinating to learn the reasoning behind design features as you go. Gun history sets the foundation for future firearms creations.

4. You need an AR-15 in every caliber.

AR-15 build and ammo
Want a well-made, precise AR-15? Build one! (Photo credit: Kat Ainsworth Stevens)

It might sound excessive, but it’s true. Different calibers have varying uses, and the more experienced you are with numerous calibers the better your shooting skills become. Being a well-rounded gun owner is a good thing, and having AR-15 builds in a wide variety of calibers is a great way to get there.

5. Don’t forget AR-10 rifles.

Springfield SAINT AR-10
Don't forget the AR-10 platform. They're a great way to get bigger calibers in your collection. (Photo credit: Springfield Armory)

Sure, we all love the AR-15 for its portability and lighter weight, but the AR-10 has its advantages as well. If you’re getting into building, check out the AR-10 platform and consider trying out a few of those builds. They’re bigger calibers which translates to being better suited for things like hunting larger game or working on long-range shooting.

6. Everyone in your family should have an AR-15.

Senator's family at Christmas, everyone holding an AR-15
Everyone gets an AR-15 in this senator's family. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Not just any AR-15, either; everyone in your family should have an AR-15 specifically made for them. Does that mean other family members might be caught in the net of AR-15 building and end up just as obsessed as you? We can only hope.

7. Duplicate AR-15 builds are smart backup guns.

AR-15 builders
It's your famorite AR-15. Don't you want more than one? (Photo credit: Palmetto State Armory)

Let’s say you have an AR-15 build you absolutely love, and you want to take it to a class. During the class, something happens and you need to immediately replace it to continue shooting. Enter the duplicate AR-15 build. Having more than one rifle with the same components is great for use as backup, not to mention it’s a good way to make sure you always have your favorites around.

8. AR-15s could end up banned. Again.

AR-15 ban sight
AR-15s have been banned before and it could happen again. Photo credit: KVAR Armory)

When the AR-15 was banned under the Clinton administration, it came with a sunset clause—which is why it expired after ten years. Under that ban, previously owned AR-15 rifles were grandfathered in. So, although you couldn’t buy a new one, you could legally keep what was already in your possession.

This isn’t fear-mongering, it’s just reality. Guns are often targeted in restrictive legislation, so why not take steps to ensure you already have the guns on hand instead of finding yourself out of luck?

9. Because AR-15 rifles aren’t AK-47’s. 

AR-15 and AK-47
The AR-15 rifle is not an AK-47 (in case you were wondering). (Photo credit: CaliGunner.com)

Here we get into some personal preferences issues, but it’s true: an AR-15 is not an AK-47. The two are often viewed as competing platforms, and in some ways they are, but it’s also like comparing apples and oranges. If you’re an AR-15 fan, you want to build one; if you’re an AK-47 fan, you should build an AR-15 just for the experience and to better understand their differences.

10. Diversify your platform and shooting skills.

By running an AR-15—especially by building your own—you broaden your skills significantly. You don’t want to be that guy that only runs shotguns or bolt-actions, do you? Of course not (but you should know how to run those too). Keeping up with changes in gun technology is important to be a well-rounded, skilled gun owner, and AR-15s are a huge part of that.

Bonus: Because, ‘Merica!

suppressed AR-15 in front of American flag
A lot of people call the AR-15 rifle a modern musket or America’s rifle. Building an AR-15 is part of being an American. Just saying.

In all seriousness, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not familiarizing yourself with the AR-15. Building them has a lot of pros such as knowing how they work, being capable of doing your own repairs, and having the ability to fine-tune as desired. And if you’re not happy with your AR-15 build—or even if you just aren’t thrilled with your factory AR-15—there are a ton of aftermarket accessories available. Changes can always be made without too much trouble. Go ahead. Build an AR-15. You know you want one (or another one).

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